LGBT

Turkey: Court judgement to spotlight right to gender reassignment surgery

Tomorrow, a Strasbourg human rights judgement will place under the spotlight Turkish authorities’ reaction to a transsexual’s request for gender reassignment surgery.

The European Court’s ruling in the case Y.Y. v. Turkey (no. 14793/08) is expected on Tuesday 10 March.

The applicant, Y.Y., is a Turkish national living in Mersin (Turkey) who was born in 1981 and is registered in the civil-status register as being of female sex.

Y.Y. became aware very early on in his life that he felt more like a boy than a girl. On 30 September 2005 he applied to the Mersin District Court for authorisation to undergo gender reassignment surgery.

On 27 June 2006 the District Court rejected his application on the grounds, supported by medical reports, that he was not permanently unable to conceive and did not therefore satisfy one of the
requirements laid down in Article 40 of the Civil Code. The Court of Cassation upheld the District Court’s judgment.

On 5 March 2013, relying on Article 40 of the Civil Code, Y.Y. lodged a fresh application with the Mersin District Court for authorisation to undergo gender reassignment surgery.

On 21 May 2013, the Mersin District Court granted the application and authorised the requested surgery, finding it established that Y.Y. was a transsexual, that protection of his mental health required a change of gender, that the witness evidence had shown that the applicant lived as a man in every respect and suffered from his situation, with the result that the conditions laid down in Article 40 § 2 of the Civil Code were met and his request should be granted.

Relying in particular on Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life), Y.Y. complains of an infringement of his right to respect for his private life.

He alleges that the discrepancy between his perception of himself as a man and his physical constitution was established by medical reports and complains of the refusal by the domestic authorities to put an end to that discrepancy on the grounds that he was able to conceive.

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